Theater & Performing Arts

The Verona Project

When: July 6-31 2011

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Cal Shakes' latest production, a rock musical loosely based on Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, is that each cast member plays at least two instruments in addition to singing and acting. All that talent combined makes for a pretty tight eight-person rock band. Arwen Anderson handles the guitar and woodwinds, in addition to playing the female lead Julia. Marisa Duchowny plays guitar, keyboard, and several bit-parts. Adam Yazbeck plays accordion and piano, as well as the Duke of Milan. The play itself, written and directed by Amanda Dehnert, is a liberal interpretation of the bard's original script, with one gender change and most proper nouns left the same. The duke's daughter Sylvia becomes Sylvio, which precipitates not one but two gay courtships, in addition to some cross-dressing. Dehnert puts her characters in a sort of magical realist universe where sexuality and gender seem ancillary to desire and love. At moments, it's beautiful. Through July 31 at Bruins Amphitheater (100 California Shakespeare Way, Orinda). $35-$66. 510-548-9666 or CalShakes.org

Rachel Swan

Price: price varies

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